2010 Joint editorial round-up

Naenara published an excerpt of the 2010 joint editorial of Rodong Sinmun, official organ of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Josoninmingun, newspaper of the Korean People’s Army, and Chongnyonjonwi, organ of the Central Committee of Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League:

Bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea

Today our service personnel and people greet the New Year Juche 99 (2010) with the pride of being victors, who wrote a new history of great revolutionary upsurge.

A heyday unprecedented in the history of the nation lies ahead of them, who are courageously rushing towards the world by tapping the inexhaustible potentials of Songun Korea.

Kim Jong Il is leading the campaign for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation to a brilliant victory as he steers the efforts to effect a great revolutionary upsurge on the strength of single-hearted unity. Now all the service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and all the people are offering their heartfelt thanks and the greatest glory to him who is shaping the brilliant future of the country and the revolution with unflagging energy and untiring leadership, and are filled with a firm determination to support the Party’s cause to the last with intense loyalty and heroic feats.

Last year Juche 98 (2009) was a year of dramatic change, when a phenomenal age of realizing all the ideals of the people has come.

Kim Jong Il worked out a grand plan for making a decisive turn in the Korean revolution and the building of a thriving nation by effecting a new revolutionary upsurge and wisely led the efforts of the service personnel and people. After kindling the torch of a great upsurge in Kangson, home to the Chollima movement, he proposed launching the 150-day and 100-day campaigns successively, and took revolutionary measures to bring them to a victorious conclusion. His outstanding leadership ability was the source of impetus for the unprecedentedly great innovations and leap. The matchless fighting spirit of the leader, who continued the forced march of high intensity to vibrant hard-fought fields for an upsurge throughout the year, burning his heart with noble love of his country and fellow people, gave free rein to the mental strength of all the service personnel and people and worked world-startling miracles across the country. Last year’s struggle etched in their hearts the truth that his decision is precisely practice and they will always emerge victorious when they follow him.

Last year witnessed one remarkable event of knocking on the gate to a thriving nation after another.

The successful launch of man-made satellite Kwangmyongsong No. 2 and the successful second underground nuclear test by our own efforts and technology were a landmark event signalling the first victory in the building of a prosperous nation. The perfection of the Juche-based steel-making system in the Songjin Steel Complex and the attainment of the cutting edge of the CNC technology constitute a great victory of the great Juche idea and an auspicious event for the whole country and all the people that demonstrated our inexhaustible economic and technological potentials. The firework displays on the Day of the Sun–birthday of President Kim Il Sung–, May Day and the WPK anniversary in October were a striking manifestation of the lofty ideals and ambition of the Korean people who are building a thriving nation and the rosy future of Songun Korea that is advancing under the leadership of the great Party.

The economy of the country entered the stage of full-scale upturn as all the people staged a life-and-death struggle under the leadership of the Party.

The 150-day and 100-day campaigns were an unforgettable struggle that wrote the most brilliant chapter in the history of our great upsurge. The whole course of the heroic campaigns conducted by all the people, including the workers, clearly showed what kinds of miracles would be performed and what kinds of changes would be effected when we give free rein to the might of the harmonious whole of our leader, our Party and our people, in which the Party trusts the people and the people defends the Party and the leader at the risk of their lives.

Production sharply increased in the sectors of basic industries, vanguards of the national economy, and the industry as a whole achieved revitalization. Structures of lasting value in the Songun era, like the Nyongwon Power Station, Wonsan Youth Power Station, Waterway on the Miru Plain and Mansudae Street, were built across the country. The gasification project in the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex was completed, and dynamic efforts were made to upgrade the major factories and other enterprises. Last year remarkable achievements were brought about in agricultural production and rural construction, many cooperative farms transformed into ideal villages appropriate to a prosperous country and the production foundations and potentials of the light-industry sectors, including the textile and food-processing industries, strengthened markedly.

Remarkable successes were achieved in the development of socialist culture.

In the heat of the revolution in literature and the arts in the Songun era conducted under the energetic guidance of Kim Jong Il, masterpieces were produced and re-presented one after another in the fields of the cinema, opera, drama and music. Examples of mass-based culture and the arts in the era of a great upsurge were set to inspire the whole country with revolutionary enthusiasm and militant spirit. Kim Il Sung University, Wonsan University of Agriculture and other institutions of learning were refurnished splendidly, and sportspersons registered good results bringing great pleasure to the people.

The victorious great upsurge of last year confirms that the DPRK is developing in leaps and bounds, and the day when the successful building of a thriving nation will be proclaimed is just approaching.

New Year Juche 99 (2010) is a year of general offensive, when all-Party and nationwide efforts should be concentrated on improving the people’s standard of living on the basis of the laudable victory and achievements of the great revolutionary upsurge.

Kim Jong Il said:

“Our building of the country into an economic giant is aimed, to all intents and purposes, at radically improving the people’s standard of living. When the people’s living standards are decisively improved, hooray for socialism and singing of Arirang of prosperity can ring out louder across the country and the gate to a prosperous nation be opened.”

This year marks the 65th anniversaries of the founding of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea and the country’s liberation.

The anniversary of the founding of the WPK will be an important occasion for demonstrating the mounting national spirit and mettle of the Korean army and people, who are adding brilliance to the undying exploits performed by President Kim Il Sung in building the Party and carrying out the revolutionary cause of Juche and the human cause of independence, and are speeding up the building of a thriving socialist nation on the strength of the single-hearted unity around the leadership of the revolution. We should celebrate the anniversary as a great revolutionary event to be written down in the history of Kim Il Sung’s nation as we give the fullest play to their ardent loyalty to the Party, great guide, that has opened up a bright future for the country and people.

The great upsurge we are bringing about as we make unheard-of creation and leap forward under the leadership of the Party has entered a new phase.

The might of the country’s economy, including the heavy industry, was strengthened in the flames of the gigantic great upsurge, setting up a springboard for the country, already a politico-ideological and military power, to justifiably reach the status of an economic giant.

Now, based on the brilliant achievements of the great revolutionary upsurge, the Party is unfolding unprecedentedly grand plans and operations to bring about a decisive turn in the people’s standard of living. It is the firm determination and will of the Party to enable the people, who have braved severe hardships together with the Party, to enjoy the blessing of socialism to their heart’s content by getting them relish the substantial fruits of the present great upsurge and realize without fail the noble intention and desire of President Kim Il Sung who devoted his heart and soul to the people all his life. True to the intention of the Party, which regards it as the supreme principle in its activities to steadily improve the people’s standard of living and spares nothing for them, we should channel all our efforts to improving the people’s standard of living.

To launch a sweeping campaign to bring about a drastic turn in the improving of the people’s standard of living in the flames of the great revolutionary upsurge—this is the general orientation of this year’s efforts.

We should conduct an all-Party and nationwide drive for improving the people’s standard of living to ensure that the achievements of the great upsurge are followed by greater ones and this year becomes a prosperous year filled with the people’s happiness.

“Bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea!” is a slogan we should uphold.

Light industry and agriculture are the major fronts in the efforts for the improving of the people’s standard of living.

Great are the foundations of light industry and agriculture, which our Party has laid out with an eye on today against all odds.

An all-Party, nationwide effort should be directed to mass-producing consumer goods. The light-industry sector should carry forward the upgrading of its factories and enterprises on a high level, and strive to improve the quality of the consumer goods. Local-industry factories should be operated at full capacity, and units, as many as possible, should launch a campaign to turn out more daily necessities favoured by the public. The agricultural sector should sharply increase the grain output by thoroughly applying the Party’s policy of agricultural revolution, like improving the seeds, doing double cropping and improving potato and soya bean farming. It should strictly observe the requirements of the Juche farming method and introduce organic and other new farming methods and technologies. We should ensure that the updated stockbreeding, fish farming and fruit production bases that have established a Juche-oriented breeding system and embodied the principle of profitability demonstrate their great effect in reality.

We should radically increase the state investment in the fields related to the people’s living, and all the sectors and units should supply fully and in time the raw and other materials needed for the production of light-industry goods. We should gain access to more foreign markets, and undertake foreign trade in a brisk way to contribute to economic construction and the improving of the people’s standard of living.

The four vanguard sectors are the engine of the national economy and a key to solving the problem of the people’s living.

In December last year, Kim Jong Il kindled the flame for the new year’s drive while inspecting the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex and placed the workers of the Songjin Steel Complex, who had perfected the Juche-based steel-making system, in the van of the great revolutionary upsurge in the Songun era. The vanguard sectors, with a firm view that the development of light industry and agriculture depends on that of heavy industry, should push ahead with today’s general offensive for the improving of the people’s standard of living by means of increased production.

Steel production leads to the production of grain and machinery. The sector of metal industry should increase the capacity of Juche iron production that relies on the domestic raw materials and fuel and scale without fail the targets of pig iron, steel and rolled steel production set by the Party. The sector of electric power industry should channel effort to run thermal power stations at full capacity and push ahead with the construction of large-scale hydroelectric power stations, including the Huichon Power Station. The sector of coal industry should produce coal without condition for the thermal power stations, chemical factories and other important units, and step up modernization projects to steadily enhance its production capacities. The sector of rail transport should set an order and discipline as strict as in the army, produce new-type locomotives and freight cars in a larger number and make railway service modernized and railways heavy-duty.

The sector of machine-building industry should extend the scope of introduction of the CNC technology on a high standard as required by the IT age, and effect a revolution in the production of tools, so as to produce high-performance, state-of-the-art machinery in a larger number.

We should implement the people-oriented policies of the Party and the state to enable all the people to substantially enjoy the benefits of socialism.

The true nature of our socialism lies in putting the people’s well-being above anything else and providing them with all the benefits. We should ensure that the advantages of the people-oriented policies, like giving free medical care and free education, formulated by President Kim Il Sung and applied by the Party and state throughout their history are given fuller play to in the people’s living. We should speed up the construction of 100 000 flats in Pyongyang with those in Mansudae Street as a model, and build beautiful socialist streets and villages in a greater number in other urban and rural areas. Socialist principles should be maintained in commodity circulation, and the quality of welfare service improved decisively.

The fundamental secret of making a new leap in this year’s general offensive is in launching a campaign to push back the frontiers of science and technology in all sectors.

We must turn out as one under the slogan, “Let us push back the frontiers of science and technology in all the sectors of the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country and leap higher and faster!” The sector of defence industry, a major front in pushing back the frontiers of science and technology, should continue to lead the efforts to open the gate to a great, prosperous and powerful country, and all other sectors and units of the national economy should launch a drive to push back the frontiers of science and technology. They should bring science and technology close to production and put themselves on a modern and scientific basis in a far-sighted manner, focusing on enhancing their abilities to develop new technologies and products. We should map out a correct strategy for the development of science and technology as required by the 21st century, and rapidly develop core technologies, technical engineering of major sectors and basic science. Scientists and technicians should fulfil their role as the pioneers in pushing back the frontiers of science and technology and standard-bearers in making their country a scientific and technological giant, with a determination to glorify their country by means of their intelligence, their technology. All the sectors should conduct a vigorous mass technological innovation movement to push back the frontiers of science and technology and create new norms and records.

Today’s vibrant reality requires a revolutionary change in the organizing of economic work.

The leading economic officials should map out aggressive and realistic business and management strategies, and actively push ahead with the advance of the current great upsurge. A strict discipline should be established in planning, financial management and labour administration, so as to give full play to the superiority of the highly-organized, socialist planned economy.

In order to maximize the speed of this year’s general offensive, it is necessary to give steady play to the unconquerable mental strength of the service personnel and people.

Our Party remains unchanged in its stand to persistently hold fast to the ideological strength, mental strength, no matter how the situation may change.

The mental strength of our people is based on the strong will and fighting spirit of General Kim Jong Il. All the Party members and other people should become staunch revolutionaries and vanguard fighters, who, defending their leader unto death, translate into reality the idea of great upsurge and the far-reaching plans of the General, who continues his unremitting forced march for the benefit of his country and fellow people. The slogan “When the Party is determined, we can do anything!” must become the eternal motto of our people in their life and struggle.

For us, who have to make a higher and faster leap towards the world, national dignity is as precious as life itself. We should thoroughly embody the Korean-nation-first spirit in all fields of social life as befits the people of a dignified power, who opened up an era of frontier science in which our satellite is circling the orbit.

The sector of art and literature should produce many masterpieces so as to give the fullest play to the mental strength of the service personnel and people.

In order to achieve the goals set by the Party this year, we should strengthen in every way the might of our revolutionary ranks, whose core is the Korean People’s Army.

The KPA should plan and conduct all forms of its military and political work on the highest level this year that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Songun-based revolutionary leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Il, thus giving fuller play to the inexhaustible might of the revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu.

The KPA is an elite force that has formed a harmonious whole with the Supreme Commander in idea and will, in disposition and pluck, and in feeling and emotion.

It should train all its men and officers into the vanguard fighters of the Songun revolution, holding aloft the slogan “Let us defend with our very lives the leadership of revolution headed by the great Comrade
Kim Jong Il!” It should ensure that it overflows with the soldiers’ spirit of implementing without condition the orders and directives of the Supreme Commander by holding the work of establishing the revolutionary command system and military discipline as a priority task of the Party political work and developing the work without letup. It should always remain highly alert without a moment of relaxation or indolence while keeping itself fully ready for combat action so that it can resolutely frustrate any surprise attacks of the enemy.

The men and officers of the People’s Army should continue to perform feats that would go down in history in the grand construction sites, including the Huichon Power Station, by displaying the revolutionary soldier spirit. Under the slogan “Let us help the people!” they should strengthen the unity between the army and the people, a foundation of Songun Korea, and become the role models for civilians in the ideological spirit, morality, sports and physical culture, the arts and all other aspects.

The working class, youth and all other people, who are taking part in the effort for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country, should launch determined offensives, regarding their work places as battle fields. Our workers should create a new speed of advance in the spirit of having performed labour feats during the 150-day and 100-day campaigns.

The youth, who are a shock brigade in the great revolutionary upsurge, should make breakthroughs in the construction site of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station and other most difficult and labour-intensive posts and build more monumental edifices representing the Songun era, burning their hearts with the determination to move even the mountain if the Party calls them to do so. They should become heroes, who add lustre to the era of great upsurge with undying labour feats, and talented persons, who highly demonstrate the dignity of the country by pushing back the frontiers of science and technology.

We should strengthen the Party and remarkably enhance the role of Party organizations to achieve a brilliant victory in this year’s general offensive.

This year, when we will be celebrating the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Party, Party organizations should give free rein to our Party’s militant might, which was built in the tempest of the Songun revolution, by bringing about a fresh turn in the Party work.

They should further intensify the Three-Revolution Red Flag Movement, so as to ensure that the revolution in ideology, technology and culture is waged briskly at all units.

We should defend the interests of the masses in a thoroughgoing way and solve all problems by relying on their strength as required by the revolutionary mass line of the Party.

Officials should become true servants of the people, who understand their sentiments and unfold their work as suited to these sentiments, and commanding personnel who, enjoy reputation and love among them, as they are possessed of free and easy character and ennobling humane traits.

All Party members, with a high political consciousness that they are the members of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea, should become skillful political activists and courageous fighters, who always hold the flag in the van in all fronts of making a great upsurge.

The working people’s organizations should strengthen ideological education and briskly conduct various kinds of mass movements, like the socialist emulation movement among their members so as to give free rein to their patriotic enthusiasm in today’s effort for building a great, prosperous and powerful nation.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of the historic June 15 North-South Joint Declaration. The North-South Summit and the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration in 2000 were a historic event that is of great significance in accomplishing the cause of national reunification. Under the banner of June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, a new era of independent reunification has been opened, and great, unprecedented successes were achieved in the development of inter-Korean relations and the national reunification movement. The previous ten years since the publication of the June 15 Declaration followed by the publication of the October 4 Declaration for its implementation, during which the Korean nation has advanced along the road for independent reunification and peace and prosperity, has clearly confirmed that these declarations are the most reasonable reunification programmes and the ideal of “by our nation itself” is the very national spirit and the one and only ideal in the June 15 reunification era.

Last year, we took active and bold measures and made sincere efforts in order to improve the aggravated inter-Korean relations and bring a radical phase in national reunification. Our measures evoked great support and sympathy at home and abroad and created an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between the north and the south.

The schemes of the separatist forces to thwart the advance of the era of June 15 reunification are vicious, but they cannot break the desire and will of the fellow countrymen to achieve independent reunification and national prosperity by implementing the north-south joint declarations, and it is inevitable that the pro-reunification, patriotic forces will prevail over the separatist forces and emerge victorious.

This year we should hold high the slogan “Let the entire nation unite under the banner of north-south joint declarations and achieve national reunification at the earliest date!”

The way for improving the north-south relations should be opened.

Unshakable is our stand that we will improve the north-south relations and open the way for national reunification on the basis of the historic June 15 Joint Declaration and October 4 Declaration. If the south Korean authorities continue to negate the June 15 Declaration and cling to the policy of confrontation in collusion with the foreign forces, the relations between north and the south will never be improved. They should refrain from committing acts that may aggravate the confrontation and tension, and take the road of respecting the North-South Joint Declaration, promoting north-south dialogue and improving the relations between both sides.

National reconciliation and cooperation should be promoted actively.

Reconciliation should be promoted with the common national interests given precedence, and cooperation should be encouraged through travel and contacts between the people from all walks of life. All sorts of legal and institutional mechanisms that hinder the projects for common interests and prosperity of the nation should be abolished and free discussion and activities of the broad sections of the people for reunification should be fully ensured.

The unity of the entire nation constitutes a decisive guarantee for the country’s reunification. All the fellow countrymen in the north, south and abroad should strengthen solidarity and collaboration to develop the national reunification movement. They should build up the atmosphere of independent national reunification, reconciliation, cooperation and unity on a nationwide scale to greet the 10th anniversary of the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and the 30th anniversary of the advancing of the proposal for the founding of the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo.

The entire Korean nation should crown the year 2010 as a year of opening a new phase of independent reunification by frustrating all challenges of the anti-reunification forces with their concerted efforts and stepping up the grand nationwide march toward reunification.

The fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the rest of Asia is to put an end to the hostile relationship between the DPRK and the USA. It is the consistent stand of the DPRK to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations. Our Party and the Government of our Republic will strive to develop relations of good-neighbourliness and friendship with other countries and achieve global independence under the unfurled banner of independence, peace and friendship.

Our Party is a great guide which steers our motherland and people to sure victory, and ours are a heroic army and people who perform everything without fail once the Party has planned and decided to do it.

The majestic firework display to be held on the auspicious October holiday will resound all over the world as a reflection of the determination of all the service personnel and people to follow the Party to the last along the road of Songun and the delight of all the people in enjoying the blessings of socialism.

More about the joint editorial below:
Here is what was published in Korea Today:

Efforts into Four Leading Sectors

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

To provide a springboard for opening the gate of a great, prosperous and powerful nation—this is a firm resolution of the Party and the DPRK government.

To this end priority is given to electricity, coal mining and metallurgical industries and railway transport, leading sectors of the national economy. This is the Party’s consistent policy.

Last year alone great efforts were put in developing the sectors.

With emphasis placed on the preferential development of the metallurgical industry, the four leading sectors made the utmost use of their production potentials, thus making joint innovations.

The production of iron and steel was increased at relevant factories and enterprises including the Chollima Steel Complex, the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex and the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex.

The construction of Ryesonggang and Huichon power stations was pushed ahead with, and the Pukchang Area Coal Mining Complex, the Sunchon Area Youth Coal Mining Complex and other enterprises in the sector of the coal mining industry made great progress in coal production.

The railway transport sector raised the traffic capacity of railways by far by further consolidating its material and technical foundation and scrupulously organizing and controlling transport services.

The achievements constitute a great asset for developing the basic sectors of the national economy this year.

This year emphasis is put on relying on domestic techniques, resources and efforts in shoring up the four leading sectors of the national economy.

There has already been provided the solid foundation of the self-reliant national economy in Korea.

What is important at present is to develop the economy with domestic effort, techniques and resources on the basis of the foundation.

Efforts are concentrated upon developing the sectors while closely combining normalization of production with modernization of production processes as required by the age of the latest science and technology in the principle of doing everything in the Korean style.

The state pays great attention to the preferential development of the four leading sectors.

The scientists and researchers concerned are staying at major metallurgical factories and enterprises like the Chollima Steel Complex to solve the problems arising in modernizing production processes and normalizing production, and every condition is provided to preferentially supply raw and other materials necessary for developing the metallurgical industry.

Concentrated nationwide investment is made in building power stations including the Huichon Power Station, and the existing power stations are striving to enhance their generating capacity.

In the sector of the coal mining industry efforts are made to supply in time the materials and facilities needed in coal mines and find new coal fields with large deposits while keeping prospecting and tunneling ahead of coal cutting.

In the sector of railway transport, the artery of the nation and the pilot of the national economy, great efforts are put in consolidating its material and technical foundation by giving priority to technical reconstruction.

Some other non-economic aspects of the joint editorial were thoroughly covered in the media.  Here is a sampling:

Kyodo News (Japan):

North Korea’s No. 2 leader urged the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, in a New Year’s letter Friday to ”positively contribute to” improving bilateral relations with Japan based on the spirit of the Pyongyang Declaration, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

It was the first time since a New Year’s letter to Chongryon in 2003 that Kim Yong Nam has referred to the declaration, raising speculations that Pyongyang may have become more interested in Japan’s North Korea policy under the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who took office in September.

Signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during their talks in 2002 in Pyongyang, the declaration commits the two countries to work toward normalizing ties.

It was also the first time since a New Year’s letter to Chongryon in 2006 that Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s parliament, has referred to the role of Chongryon in improving relations with Japan.

In a separate KCNA report, Chongryon told Kim Jong Il in a New Year’s message on Friday that the organization ”will conduct more vigorous external activities” to improve bilateral ties and urge Japan to alter what it says is a ”hostile policy” toward North Korea.

Chongryon added that it will make efforts to get Japan to lift the ban on the Mangyongbong-92, a ferry linking North Korea and Japan, to enter Japanese ports as part of what Pyongyang says are ”unjust sanctions” imposed by Tokyo, according to KCNA.

Wall Street Journal:

North Korea underlined its desire for a peace treaty with the U.S. and South Korea before giving up nuclear weapons in a New Year’s message that is awaited by analysts annually because it is one of the rare statements of direction from its authoritarian government.

The statement broke little new ground in the long-running dispute between the North and countries, led by the U.S., that have tried to persuade it to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In an editorial run in several state-run newspapers and broadcasts, the government said it wanted to “establish a lasting peace system on the Korean peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations.”

The sequence is considered important because the U.S. wants North Korea to stop building nuclear weapons before it will agree to a peace treaty that would formally end the Korean War.

North Korea’s annual message often sends a signal about economic priorities and has less often been used to discuss the nuclear-weapons dispute. Last month, the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, traveled to Pyongyang to gauge its willingness to return to aid-for-disarmament talks with the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. North Korean diplomats acknowledged the need for talks but gave no commitment to the so-called six-party process.

The Guardian:

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the private Sejong Institute security thinktank, said North Korea was likely to maintain its conciliatory approach toward the US.

“The North extended an olive branch to the US,” Cheong said, adding that he expected the two sides to agree to set up a liaison office as a symbolic move to end hostilities.

But Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, said North Korea was unlikely to surrender its nuclear programme or make any other important concessions.

The North Korean statement said it remained committed to improving relations with South Korea, and urged it to refrain from actions that might aggravate tensions.

The lengthy statement stressed the need to improve living standards by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture and called for efforts to gain access to more foreign markets.

“When the people’s living standards are decisively improved … the gate to a prosperous nation [will] be opened,” the statement quoted leader, Kim Jong-il, as saying.

The DPRK asks the ROK to tear down wall.  According to Reuters:

Mentioning the wall by the North has been an odd New Year tradition begun by state founder Kim Il-sung and kept alive by a fawning propaganda machine that dares not correct a person revered as a deity. Kim died 15 years ago and is considered the state’s “eternal president.”

The Korean peninsula is divided by a 4-km wide Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with razor wire fences on the North and South side, but with no huge, concrete barrier as claimed by the North.

But that did not stop North Korea’s ruling party newspaper on Wednesday from coming out with its demand that the wall be demolished because “it runs diametrically counter to the desire and demand of the nation and the trend of the times.”

The idea of a Korean wall across the Cold War’s last frontier was a creation of the times, specifically, the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the symbolic end of the Cold War in Europe.

A few weeks after the Berlin Wall started coming down in 1989, Kim Il-sung said in a New Year’s address that Seoul had built a massive concrete wall to divide the two states, which are technically still at war.

Analysts said Kim made the claim to rally support for his state as its communist allies were fading. At the time Seoul was working to set up formal ties with the Soviet Union, then the North’s biggest benefactor.

Kim, who helped secure power by turning his country into one of the world’s most isolated and insular states, said in the speech to welcome 1990 that the wall was “a barrier of national division” preventing free travel between the two countries.

Some international news reports accepted Kim’s pronouncement as fact, prompting Seoul to invite journalists and observers a few weeks later to look into the DMZ to see for themselves that the wall did not exist.

The North likely spotted concrete tank barriers set up south of its end of the DMZ and assumed the South was building a wall across the peninsula, analysts have said. The DMZ was set up in the armistice that halted fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea’s official media has painted a vivid picture of the wall that is not there.

It says the border wall stands 5 meters (16 ft) to 8 meters (26 ft) high, is as thick as 19 meters and was built in the 1970s by a “South Korean military fascist clique.”

As in previous years, the DPRK held a rall in support of the joint editorial.  According to Forbes:

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in North Korea’s capital to support the government’s policies for the new year, including improved relations with the United States and South Korea.

The crowd braved chilly weather Saturday to pledge loyalty to leader Kim Jong Il as top officials applauded on a balcony overlooking Pyongyang’s main square.

Videos broadcast by APTN showed Kim did not attend the rally.

North Korea – which does not tolerate any political opposition – stages the annual rally to bolster public support for the government’s New Year policies, announced in the form of a joint editorial in major newspapers.

The Daily NK offers unique info:

If we analyze the last ten years of North Korean New Year’s statements, unprecedented parts to the 2010 Statement reveal themselves. Even the title carries a different nuance;

“Bring about a decisive change in the people’s lives by accelerating once again light industry and agriculture this year, as we look to the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Party!”

The key phrase is “by accelerating once again light industry and agriculture;” “once again” just means a continuation of the policies which led to the 150- and 100-Day Battles of 2009.

In any case, as the title shows clearly, the core concern of the North Korean regime is food security. Although the regime has been worried about food for a long time, this is the first time it has appeared in the title of a New Year’s Statement.

The most common words and phrases in statement titles of previous years have been “construction of a strong and prosperous state,” “military-first revolution,” “revolutionary great leap,” and “socialist principles,” while “light industry and agriculture” has been treated as attendant details behind traditional socialist priorities such as heavy industry.

One problem among many is that North Korea’s heavy industry-centric economic policy is distorted heavily in the direction of the munitions industry.

In 1995-1998, during the March of Tribulation, notions of valuing light industry and agriculture occasionally appeared in New Year’s statements because the people needed comforting when there was nothing in the grain stores and nothing available in state-run shops.

The only difference from that time is what North Korea calls its “great achievement;” becoming a de facto nuclear power through two nuclear tests. Since North Korea has already become an ideologically strong state thanks to Juche ideology and the Military-first political line, and also a strong military state due to its possession of nuclear weapons, the only thing the North now believes it needs is to become an economically strong state.

Therefore, the emphasis on light industry and agriculture can be taken as partly symbolic of Pyongyang’s pride in its two nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.

The other expressions which stand out this year are “Let’s greatly advance the people’s lives,” and “Let’s expand foreign markets and engage actively in foreign trade activities.” These give us an indication of the North’s future policy priorities.

However, the problem is that the common editorial is just words and slogans; it contains no practical ways to advance the lives of the people and suggests no changes in methods.

In terms of agriculture, the statement asserts, “The Party’s seed revolution decree, double-cropping decree, potato farming revolution decree, bean farming decree and other farming revolution decrees must be carried out successfully, and innovation must be used to expand agricultural production. The Juche Agricultural Method should be completely followed and new farming methods such as organic farming should also be adopted.”

Yet the fact is that North Korea can solve its food problems only by reforming the collective farming system and increasing swiftly levels of private farming; farming methods are not the key to food security in the country. That is, the necessary steps are not to be found in advanced farming techniques, but in thoroughgoing reform of the farming system. Unsurprisingly, there are no comments on farming system reform in the editorial.

Although the Statement declares, “Materials for light industrial production must be guaranteed on time,” the fact is that the authorities cannot guarantee them “on time,” or indeed at all, due to infrastructure problems such as energy and transportation shortages.

Another comment, “The modernization of the railways must be aggressively carried out by the whole,” has been reiterated for several decades without any notable success.

Therefore, the fact we have to keep in mind is that the New Year’s Statement is in reality not a statement of the nation’s aims for the year, but propaganda to try and circumscribe popular complaint.

It is too much to expect significant changes to official policies just because “light industry and agriculture” or “improvement to people’s lives” are mentioned in the New Year’s Statement!

The only thing we can predict is a slight change in the food situation. For the Kim regime, there is no other solution at this stage but foreign aid.


5 Responses to “2010 Joint editorial round-up”

  1. Gag Halfrunt says:

    The Guardian article is just an Associated Press story that the Guardian happened to carry on its website.

  2. Neil says:

    It was a bit different to the Queen’s Speech, I’ll give it that.

  3. eunsung says:

    KJI explicitly takes credit for the 150 and 100 day battles.